Blueprint For Next COVID Relief Proposal Passes Congressional Hurdle—Advocacy Still Needed!
In the nascent hours of Friday morning, the Senate passed—by a vote of 51-50 with Vice President Harris as the tiebreaker—a resolution that sets the stage for the legislative production of the next coronavirus relief package. The House is expected to move swiftly today to advance the Senate's $1.9 trillion budget resolution. But, it's important to understand that Congress has not yet passed a dime of that $1.9 trillion—including for OAA or other important aging programs. That comes in the next act.
Known as “reconciliation,” the process of using the congressional budget resolution procedure—which is a non-binding, optional, legislative blueprint—to advance policy proposals that will be signed into law is relatively rare. Congressional budget reconciliation typically happens only when both chambers of Congress and the White House are controlled by the same political party because the process produces spending and revenue-generating proposals that are immune from the threat of Senate filibuster and thus require only a simple majority to pass in the Senate. The last time this process was used was in 2017 by Republicans to pass massive tax cuts.
When the current budget resolution passes the House today, lawmakers on numerous committees will develop proposals to adhere to the instructions that the budget resolution set out, totaling $1.9 trillion. Committees have a deadline to deliver those legislative proposals by February 16, so time is short!
Members of the House Education and Labor Committee and Senate HELP Committee now have a top-line spending amount that they need to meet. They will work over the next two weeks to develop policy proposals to meet that goal. Therefore, advocacy from Aging Network stakeholders is especially critical during the next two weeks! If you haven't yet, please reach out today or first thing next week to let your Members of Congress know why it is so important that they include a minimum of $1.364 billion for vital emergency funding for Older Americans Act programs and funding for the Aging Network to support vaccination deployment efforts.
There is a lot of work to do to ensure another round of emergency funding is sent to the Aging Network, but we have a very real chance of success! Use n4a's advocacy tools and resources, including our recent Advocacy Alert and template email or letter and call script to engage Members of Congress. You can also use other recent letters that n4a, national aging advocates and aging coalition stakeholders have sent to Congress spotlighting these critical aging policy issues and funding needs! As always, stay tuned for more information from n4a and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org anytime with questions.